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City Council oversight of rail spending tied to budget approval

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The City Council gave preliminary approval today to the operating and construction project budgets for city’s rail transit authority but not before adding a provision that gives the Council greater oversight of the spending.

Council members advanced an $18 million operating budget for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, known as HART, along with a $355 million capital improvement program budget.

Both budget bills added language stipulating that no money will be spent by HART from its available funds for any purpose unless the Council appropriates them first. The CIP budget also included a provision that bond moneys may be encumbered but will not be expended until an agreement from the federal government to provide the transit funds is completed.

The amendments, introduced by Councilman Ikaika Anderson, give the Council more oversight of the transit authority’s finances and ensure that the project does not move forward until it is clear where the project stands with the Federal Transit Administration.

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